Album Review – Cauchemar / Rosa Mystica (2022)

Behold the fully realized expression of this French-Canadian band’s signature sound of somber traditional doom they have been perfecting since their inception.

Rising from their moss-covered crypt, French-Canadian Heavy/Doom Metal act Cauchemar is back with their third full-length opus, darkly titled Rosa Mystica, the band’s first offering since the 2019 compilation Trapped Under Ice. Meticulously composed and rehearsed to perfection, recorded at No Man’s Land Studio, and displaying a stylish cover art by Russian artist Valeria Sakseeva, the album is a fully realized expression of Cauchemar’s signature sound of somber traditional doom the band has been perfecting since their inception in 2007 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, delivered with the vigor of Heavy Metal. The atmosphere on Rosa Mystica is spacious and rustic, gilded by the warm glow of stained-glass luminescence, all carefully brought into being by frontwoman Annick Giroux and her French-language incantations, guitarist François Patry and his austere muscular riffs, and bassist Andres Arango and drummer Joel Ladouceur’s vaulted geometry.

An atmospheric, grim intro to the acoustic guitars by François kicks off the old school opening song Jour de colère (or “day of wrath” in English) while Andres and Joel generate a rumbling ambience with their respective bass and drums, offering Annick all she needs to powerfully shine on vocals, whereas blending the epicness of classic Heavy Metal with the obscurity of Doom Metal the quartet offers us all the excellent Rouge sang (“blood red”), with Annick taking the lead with her solid vocals while François keep extracting fire from his riffs. Leaning towards pure Doom Metal, Notre-Dame-sous-Terre (“Notre-Dame-under-Earth”) is a Stygian composition by Cauchemar with Joel delivering those sluggish beats we love so much, and more of the blazing riffs and solos by François embellish the airwaves in Danger de nuit (“danger at night”), accompanied by the low-tuned bass by Andres in a thrilling hybrid of Heavy and Doom Metal with classic Hard Rock.

The title-track Rosa mystica brings to our ears another round of their cryptic Doom Metal spearheaded by the slow and steady drums by Joel. Needless to say, the guitar lines by François are a thing of beauty, whereas adding elements from Speed and Thrash Metal to their core sonority we’re treated to the high-octane aria Le tombeau de l’aube (“the tomb of dawn”), showcasing another spot-on performance by Joel on drums. Volcan (“volcano”), featuring a guest guitar solo by Alan Jones, is an old school Doom Metal chant with Blackened Doom nuances slightly less visceral than its predecessors but still very enjoyable; and last but not least, François’ acoustic guitars and the low-tuned bass by Andres kick off the melancholic La sorcière (“the witch”), offering our ears six minutes of mesmerizing doom enhanced by a guest guitar solo by Chany Pilote that puts a beyond climatic ending to the album.

Annick and her henchmen are waiting for your feedback on their music on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course if you want to show your total support to the Canadian underground you can purchase a copy of Rosa Mystica from the band’s own BandCamp page, or if you’re in Canada, in the United States or other non-EU country you can also get the album from the Temple of Mystery webstore as a CD, an LP or as a very special gold “Die Hard” version with a 4-page insert, a woven patch, a sticker and an 11″ x 17″ A3 poster, as well as from Record Shop X. In other words, let the atmospheric music found in Rosa Mystica penetrate deep inside your soul, keeping the fires of underground doom burning bright thanks to the talent and hard work of one of the torchbearers of the Québécoise scene.

Best moments of the album: Rouge sang, Danger de nuit and Le tombeau de l’aube.

Worst moments of the album: Volcan.

Released in 2022 Temple of Mystery

Track listing
1. Jour de colère 6:18
2. Rouge sang 3:11
3. Notre-Dame-sous-Terre 5:49
4. Danger de nuit 4:51
5. Rosa mystica 5:28
6. Le tombeau de l’aube 2:50
7. Volcan 5:22
8. La sorcière 6:07

Band members
Annick Giroux – vocals
François Patry – guitars
Andres Arango – bass
Joel Ladouceur – drums

Guest musicians
Alan Jones – guitar solo on “Volcan”
Chany Pilote – guitar solo on “La sorcière”

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